Rinse and dice eggplant into small, bite-sized cubes. Place in a colander in the sink and sprinkle generously with salt to draw out some of the moisture. Wait 20-30 minutes. Then rinse and pat thoroughly dry with a towel. Set aside. If you’re short on time, skip the eggplant and double the mushrooms.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, the eggplant and 1/3 of the minced garlic (1 clove as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp sea salt (as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until a golden brown color is achieved, then add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes more or until all of the veggies have color. Set aside and cover – you will top the pasta with it.
To the same saucepan, add the pasta, water, marinara sauce, the remaining cloves of garlic. Start with 1.5 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp black pepper (you will likely add more later depending on the saltiness of your marinara/your personal taste // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer until the pasta is cooked to al dente – will vary depending on kind of pasta – but typically an average of 10 minutes, stirring once or twice so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
Once cooked, stir and taste to adjust seasonings. I added more salt and fresh herbs at this point.
Remove from heat and top with eggplant-mushroom mixture and more fresh parsley or basil. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4 (as original recipe is written).
*For the pasta, I used 3/4 of a 16-ounce bag of orecchiette, but I would recommend a spaghetti or penne, as it’s not as likely to clump together. *Use gluten-free pasta to keep gluten-free. *Adapted from Martha Stewart. *Inspired by Vegan Miam. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate.